St. Anthony (ca. 250-355) is generally considered to be the founder and father of organized Christian monasticism, although he himself preferred to live the life of a true hermit, apart from any community, in the deserts of Egypt. Most of the known facts about this famous "Desert Father' are derived from the biography by St. Athanasius (ca. 296-373), the "Father of Orthodoxy."
Now we have been deputed through your affection to write down the triumphs of the blessed man Anthony, and to send by an envoy a history of them to you in writing which will show how it was that he began his discipleship, and what manner of life he led before this took place, and how he was living when he brought his days to a close, and whether all the words which have been spoken concerning him and have come to our hearing are true; and straightway with joy I have devoted myself to the fulfillment of your command. Now by merely writing a commemorative history of the blessed Anthony I also shall gain great benefit, for I am convinced, O my beloved, that by narrating these histories two things will be effected: we shall increase the renown of the man of God in honor and wonder, and we shall begin to instruct your minds step by step; for the acts of the blessed Anthony form a perfect example for the solitary ascetics....
Now, by race the blessed Anthony was an Egyptian, and he was descended from a noble family, and was, indeed, an owner of slaves. His forefathers were believers, and from his earliest childhood he was brought up in the fear of our Lord; and when he was a child and was being reared among his own kinsfolk, he knew nothing of his father or of what went on among his own people. He was so silent in disposition, and his mind was so humble, that he did not even trouble his parents by asking them questions. He was exceedingly modest, and he was honest beyond measure He was unable to read or write because he could not bear the rough behavior of the boys in the school; his whole desire was to be even according to what is written about Jacob, "He was a simple man, and a dweller in tents." He clung closely to his parents, and when they came to church he would run before them in the flow of his affection; and he was not like an ordinary child, the course of whose customary attendance is broken by the amusements of childhood. Click Here for more.
*Taken from the Catholic Information Network
The Antonine Sisters Overview